July 5th, 2011
07:55 PM ET

Jury's verdict: Casey Anthony not guilty of murder

Editor's note: For more on the jury's finding that Casey Anthony is not guilty in daughter Caylee's death read our full story here.

[Updated at 8:20 p.m.] From the moment word came that Casey Anthony was acquitted of murdering her 2-year-old daughter, online networking sites were flooded with a cascade of amateur commentary. A few big names, including Kim Kardashian, joined the fray. Most condemned the verdict - "no justice for Caylee" was a common comment - which comes after years of the case serving as fodder for cable news, tabloids and the like.

[Updated at 7:55 p.m.] Mourners of Caylee Anthony want you to turn your porch lights on tonight in honor of the slain 2-year-old.

The Facebook event, "Porch lights on for Caylee Marie Anthony," urges people "all over the world" to start participating at "9 pm in your own time zone."

Already, 546,610 have said they're attending, and some say their lights are already on.


[Updated at 7:20 p.m.] Alternate juror Russell Huekler said he agrees with the jury's verdict "wholeheartedly" and surmised that Caylee Anthony's death was a "horrific accident" gone awry.

"The prosecution did not prove their case," said Huekler, who sat through the entire case but did not get to deliberate the charges.

Prosecutors failed to answer the question of how Caylee died, he said.

From the testimony, Huekler said he drew the conclusion that "it was probably a horrific accident" that Anthony and her father, George Anthony, covered up.

"Unfortunately it did snowball and got away from them," Huekler said. "It was such a horrific accident that they didn't know how to deal with it. The family appeared to be very dysufintional and instead of admitting there was an accident, they chose to hide it, for whatever reason."


[Updated at 5:08 p.m.] Attorney Mark Lippman issued a statement on behalf of Lee, George and Cindy Anthony:

While the family may never know what has happened to Caylee Marie Anthony, they now have closure for this chapter of their life. They will now begin the long process of rebuilding their lives.

Despite the baseless defense chosen by Casey Anthony, the family believes that the Jury made a fair decision based on the evidence presented, the testimony presented, the scientific information presented and the rules that were given to them by the Honorable Judge Perry to guide them.

The family hopes that they will be given the time by the media to reflect on this verdict and decide the best way to move forward privately.

The family also wanted the public to know that if anyone wanted to honor Caylee by leaving stuffed animals or other toys at any area near their home, that they would prefer those items be donated in Caylee’ s name to families in need, religious centers, or any other entity where the toys would be appreciated.


[Updated at 4:10 p.m.] Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings issues a plea for restraint after Casey Anthony is acquitted of murder.

"As the verdict has been rendered we ask our community to respect the decision the jury and court have made today. We ask for your continued peaceful acknowledgement of that verdict.


[Updated at 3:47 p.m.] The delay in recovering Caylee Anthony's remains worked to the "considerable disadvantage" to the prosecution's efforts to prove Casey Anthony's guilt, Ninth Judicial Circuit State Attorney Lawson Lamar said.

With no "smoking gun" and a victim who was "reduced by time and the elements to skeletal remains," made the case all the more the more difficult to prove, he said. Nonetheless, he said, police and prosecutors did their job - and so did the jury.

"I never, ever criticize a jury; theirs is a task of deciding what to believe," he said. "We're disappointed with the verdict today and surprised because we know the facts and we put in absolutely every single piece of evidence that existed."

He said his staff would return to the task of addressing the 101,00 cases that come to his office each year, including a handful of open child murder cases.

"Child murders, regrettably and terribly, are not rare in America today and those deaths are no less horrible," he said. "The only difference is the news has not highlighted their murders."

He also praised his staff for not talking about the case outside of the courtroom, saying the rush to convict Casey Anthony in the news "led to the great expense" of having to seek a jury "outside the media market."

"So much of the angst and taxpayer expense could've been avoided if others had not succumbed to the temptation provided by quick notoriety," Lawson said.

"For us the case has never been about the defendant in particular. It has always been about seeking justice for Caylee and speaking on her behalf."


[Updated at 3:14 p.m.] Members of the jury in the Casey Anthony case have said they are not interested in speaking with members about the case or the verdict, a court spokeswoman said.

[Updated at 3:10 p.m.] We are waiting on an expected news conference from the jurors in the Casey Anthony trial.

A room has been set up for them to address the media, but none are required to actually say anything if they do not want to.


[Updated at 2:50 p.m.] Defense Attorney Jose Baez said he had mixed emotions about the case and that he had to work hard against media bias that existed during the search for Caylee and the case against Casey Anthony.

"You cannot convict someone until they have their day in court," he said.

Baez said he was happy for Casey Anthony and the decision made by the jury. Now he hopes Casey Anthony can move on.

"I want her to grieve and to grow and somehow get her life back together," he said.

Baez said the case was a true example of a jury doing what they are supposed to - finding their verdict based on evidence and not emotion.

"We have the greatest constitution in the world and if the media and other members of the public don’t respect it, it will become meaningless," he said. "And today and yesterday on the Fourth of July,  there was a breath of life."

Baez said he is thrilled that when he goes home today and his daughter asks what he did today he can say - "I saved a life."

"I think this case is a perfect example for why the death penalty does not work... " Baez added. "Murder is not right no matter who does it."

[Updated at 2:45 p.m.] Dorothy Clay Sims speaking first for the defense team addressed the media.

"I am thankful for today's verdict on behalf of Casey Anthony," she said.

Defense Attorney Cheney Mason also addressed the media, angrily scolding them for their coverage of the case.

"I hope that this is a lesson to those who have indulged in media assassination for three years," he said.

Defense Attorney Jose Baez added that "while we're happy for Casey there are no winners in this case."

"Caylee has passed on far, far too soon, and what my driving force has been for the past three years is to make sure there has been justice for Caylee and Casey," he said. "Casey did not murder Caylee, it's that simple. And today our system of justice has not dishonored her memory by a false conviction."

[Updated at 2:34 p.m.] A room is being prepared for the jury to take questions from the media about their verdict.


iReport: What's your reaction to the verdict

[Updated at 2:31 p.m.] For the first time a wide smile came across Casey Anthony's face. She began to smile and laugh as her team surrounded her and congratulated her on being found not guilty of murdering her daughter.

[Updated at 2:29 p.m.] Casey Anthony took tissues from a court bailiff and wiped her face at the back of the courtroom.

[Updated at 2:26 p.m.] Casey Anthony embraced her attorney Jose Baez and the rest of her legal team before sobbing.

Anthony wiped tears from her eyes as her team of lawyers hugged each other.

[Updated at 2:24 p.m.] Casey Anthony wiped tears from her eyes and clutched her attorneys' hands as the judge addressed the courtroom.

[Updated at 2:23 p.m.] Casey Anthony returned to the courtroom after briefly leaving with a slight smile on her face.

The judge set sentencing for Thursday at 9 a.m.

[Updated at 2:22 p.m.] Casey Anthony has left the courtroom. Her parents also quickly left the courtroom after the verdict was read.

[Updated at 2:22 p.m.] Judge Belvin Perry confirms the jury's verdict.

[Updated at 2:20 p.m.] Casey Anthony cried as she hugged her defense attorney Jose Baez before she approached a podium to be addressed by the judge.


[Updated at 2:20 p.m.] A poll of the jurors showed they all agreed on the verdict for every count.

[Updated at 2:20 p.m.] Casey Anthony has been found guilty of four counts of providing false information to law enforcement in the case of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee, who was slain in 2008.

[Updated at 2:19 p.m.] Casey Anthony is sobbing in court as the verdict is being read.

[Updated at 2:17 p.m.]  Casey Anthony has been found not guilty of first-degree murder in the 2008 death of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee. She was also found not guilty of aggravated child abuse and aggravated manslaughter.

[Updated at 2:16 p.m.] Judge Belvin Perry is reading over the verdict form filled out by the jury.

[Updated at 2:15 p.m.] The jury has entered the courtroom.

[Updated at 2:15 p.m.] Members inside the courtroom have stood up as Judge Belvin Perry prepares to bring in the jury.

[Updated at 2:11 p.m.] George Anthony is sitting with his eyes closed and his hands clasped next to his wife Cindy inside the courtroom as they await to hear their daughter's fate.

[Updated at 2:04 p.m.] Casey Anthony, flanked by her lawyers, is sitting silently, biting her lip and taking deep breaths as she awaits the jury's verdict.

[Updated at 2:02 p.m.] Casey Anthony has just entered the courtroom and was met by two of her lawyers. She is wearing a pink ruffled shirt, her hair was pulled back in a ponytail and she was biting her nails.

[Updated at 1:57 p.m.] Jose Baez, one of Casey Anthony's lawyers, has just arrived at the courthouse in Orlando, Florida, In Session reports.


[Updated at 1:52 p.m.] The jury deliberated for 10 hours, 40 minutes and 33 seconds before reaching a verdict in the Casey Anthony trial, which included 33 days of testimony and two days of closing arguments, according to CNN sister network HLN.

[Updated at 1:45 p.m.] The jury has reached a verdict in the Casey Anthony capital murder trial, according to staff at the Orange County, Florida, courthouse.

The verdict, reached by the seven-woman, five-man jury, will cap a trial that stretched to more than six weeks and featured allegations of sexual abuse, questions regarding Casey Anthony's competence and various theories on what happened to 2-year-old Caylee.

The verdict is scheduled to be read at 2:15 p.m ET.

Casey Anthony, 25, was charged with seven counts - first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter of a child and four counts of providing false information to a law-enforcement officer in Caylee's 2008 disappearance and death.

Read what each charge means

Watch Nancy Grace Monday through Sunday starting at 8 p.m. ET on HLN. For the latest from Nancy Grace click here.

soundoff (7,331 Responses)
  1. Expertia

    Democracy cannot exist without an educated electorate, and the jury's verdict in this case proves that. Our incompetent government school system has produced generations of "citizens" who are unable to think, process, and analyze information and draw obvious, logical conclusions. Because of that, Caylee Marie Anthony got no justice.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Shocked


    July 5, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carrie Heffernan

      Excellent point!

      July 5, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Tom

    To Nadine, the jury has to be "sure beyond a reasonable doubt". There was 0 evidence to do that.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  4. John

    Thank god. The scariest part of this has been the 'witch hunt' mentality. Everyone jumping on the band wagon and wanting to see someone suffer for 'justice' Everyone watching these tv shows who are convicting someone unfairly for 3 years for ratings, money and greed. There was no proof of murder or even negligence only bizarre behavior after the death however that may have happened. People react in very strange ways to their child's death. I cant explain how she reacted but because I didnt like it doesnt mean that she killed her daughter. Her daugfhter died somehow, she freaked out and reacted in an inexplicable manner (at least to us, psychiatrists have offered explanations) but that is all that has been proven. Just because you believe it isnt enough to send someone to jail for the rest of their lives. Again, thank god.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Agreed!

      I had a boyfriend that died in a motorcycle accident when I was 17. I drank myself into oblivion and went out with a lot of people and did a lot of crazy things to hide the pain. IF what people are saying is true, her bizarre behavior makes her a murderer, then I MUST have done it.

      Crazy doesn't equal murder.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Agreed!

      I had a boyfriend that died in a motorcycle accident when I was 17. I drank myself into oblivion and went out with a lot of people and did a lot of crazy things to hide the pain. IF what people are saying is true, bizarre behavior makes a murderer, then I MUST have been the reason he died. REALLY?

      Crazy doesn't equal murder.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Truth in the media

      You my friend, deserve to be recognized for using logic in a world where logic is merely a long dead thought process. The media pushed so hard to convict her. Its what the media does. Its almost their job now days. We the people may have wanted her to be guilty, but if the jury of peers can not, without a doubt say "Yes, she did this" who are we to judge? We aren't the jury. We aren't the lawyers. We only know what we see on tv. Tv. Yup. Always believe what you see on tv.

      I think she knows what happened. I think she mislead the police. Doesn't make her a killer.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Juliana

      The best post so far !

      July 5, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  5. phan

    I've watch 2 trials in my life... OJ & CASEY... Both guilty as sin and both set free.. is it really this easy to kill someone... lie for a while, hang onto the body, let it decompose in your car, throw it in the woods, let it get ripped apart by animals, lie to family, friends and police... get caught, reported even by own family, continue lying and boom... all i get a is a slap on the wrist???? this verdict is a joke... and our judicial system is officially broken and worthless... Baez freed a murderer... the state could've and shouldve done more... so when does the investigation start to find the killer... oh wait, she was just let free and lives on Hope Street now.... this is disgusting. see you at FUSION, Casey.. I've been looking for a crazy girl that kills their own children my entire life... lie.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Caseysaliar

    All you have to do to avoid a murder charge is lie about it. I also agree, why the hell wasn't she charged with child abuse???

    July 5, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Justadude

    Anybody who says that the justice system has "failed us", i think it's likely that your parents failed you...., by not telling you that you are mentally retarded.... First of all, based alone off of the fact of there being NO SOLID EVIDENCE, the not guilty verdict in this case shows that the jury really set the example of just how any trial should be handled.. Its not voting people. If your "bad" enough to "bring-it", then you had better be ready to back your @ss up... Way to go jury!!! Way to go defense... And Casey, i wish you well in the reassembly of your life...

    July 5, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  8. factsnotemotion

    The jury did their job, whether you agree with them or not. From day one, the prosecution tried to make this an emotional, not factual case. They knew going in they didn't have enough evidence for a murder one conviction, but if they could get the jury to think with their hearts instead of looking at the facts they might get away with it. Unfortunately, the jury based their verdict on the law. Don't hate Casey Anthony, hate the ones who let her get away...Law Enforcement...happens all the time folks.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  9. nelson

    jury is not to blame. putting your fate in the hands of a jury of your peers is always a crapshoot. doesn't matter if the evidence is so compelling. it's still the jury that makes the final verdict. that said, if you're guilty, then you have a better fighting chance choosing a jury trial. if you're innocent, you NEVER put your fate in the hands of a jury. you wouldn't want an incompetent moron or a biased racist rendering judgment on you.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Ton

    our laws are based on fact not emotion, and even though the heart says guilty there was not enough facts in the case to convict her, the law is the law and the jury did what it needed to do based on the evidence. I wish her good luck because she will have to live with the "The Tell-Tale Heart", for the rest of her days and i think that will be a punishment in and of itself.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Amber

    I whole-heartily agree with the jury's decision. There was no feasible proof that Casey killed Caylee. Awesome job, Florida, for proving that not everyone follows the collective!!

    July 5, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Patricia A Croom

    Why isn't the family getting charged with manslaughter? Just as one of our childern get the class in trouble?
    Caylee the man-up-stairs knowns as long as your with him your in good hands!

    July 5, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brandy

      O.k.....well...if she didn't do it.... Then who did? If my baby was missing for 1 HOUR I would be calling everybody....somebody! Just the fact that she didn't say anything for however long should be reason enough to convict for at least child abuse and even manslaughter?!?!

      July 5, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  13. reasonable doubt?

    didn't report child missing for a month (fact, unchallenged); didn't even mention missing child to friends and acquaintances (fact, unchallenged); concocted a story about a non-existent nanny having her (fact, unchallenged; actually, real person with that name surfaced; PROVEN to have no connection); at trial, concocted never-before-heard story about accidental drowning. result? the jurors acquit, even of child abuse. the jurors should be charged with impersonating thinking human beings.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • jimbojones

      What's really gonna blow your mind is that the jury you are so quick to judge (hmmmmmmmmmmmm...) CONVICTED HER of the EXACT undisputed deception of which she was charged. It's the only charge that could possibly stick to Casey Anthony, given the evidence in hand. I'd hate to have a prejudiced ass such as yourself serve on any jury. It doesn't matter what you know to be true in your heart, it is about what you can prove in a court of law.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ffmike1907

    shame. shame on those jurors and its a shame that those jurors will have that horrible feeling of they did something wrong for the rest of their lives.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Sharon

    A lawyer friend once told me that in our judicial system we should never expect justice. He said all that can be expected is a final decision to end the case. That has often helped me as I have realized that justice is often lacking in the court system. But we know that there is a God that is truly just, and He knows who the murderer is. In that sense, the case is not closed.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really

      If God was truly just, the child would have never been killed in the first place, but why argue over minor details.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dani

      Where was God at while Casey was murdering her? Where is God at when innocent people, especially children, are being brutally murdered? God has nothing to do with this. If that was true, this innocent baby would be alive. So sick of people always saying God will do this or God will do that. God will do nothing – that was proven today.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • sue

      Thank you! You are sooo wise. The juror's mistake was wanted just to get it over with 'at any cost', so they could go home.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • jimbojones

      God helps those who help themselves, right? The helpless are scuh-rewed. Here endeth the lesson.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
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